The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) is considering whether to lend Poland’s Energa around $250 million to fund the development of a smart grid.
A posting on the bank’s website indicates that the loan has already been approved by the EBRD’s board but has yet to be signed off.
The loan period is given as 15 years, with the EBRD expecting financing to be “partly syndicated”.
Upgrades to Energa’s distribution network are expected to cost as much as PLN5.2 billion ($1.63 billion) between 2012 and 2015, with spending intended to “implement smart grid solutions, strengthen the distribution network of Energa [Gdansk, Poland] … and enable the distribution grid to connect new renewable energy producers”.
Through its smart grid strategy, the utility aims to provide smart meters to 100% of the homes and businesses it serves, which should go some way towards helping Poland meet an EU requirement that 80% of homes and businesses in the region be covered by 2020.
“This … will send a strong demonstration signal that smart grid investments in the electricity distribution sector are a viable investment strategy in Poland, leading to significant energy efficiency improvements,” said the EBRD.
Energa is one of four large vertically integrated energy groups in Poland, with most of its operations in the north and center of the country.
According to EBRD’s documentation, Energa is also in discussions with the European Investment Bank on parallel financing for the project.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance reckons the Polish smart metering market could be worth as much as $2.8 billion by 2020 and describes Energa’s planned investments as signifying “a step change in the level of smart grid investment in the region”, according to Bloomberg News.